Cory Booker’s spring


With Newark’s mayor in the headlines for braving a burning building to rescue a neighbor and more recently characterizing as “nauseating” efforts on both sides of the political aisle to demonize the other Presidential candidate, this has been the Spring of Booker.  Those of us who have had the opportunity to get to know Newark’s mayor were not surprised by these demonstrations of courage, both physical and moral; he is that rare individual whose conviction and leadership – as well as a unique spiritual strength – shine through.

A couple thoughts on Booker’s recent comments on ‘Meet the Press’ critiquing the Obama campaign for its demonizing of Romney’s work with Bain Capital and criticism of Romney’s campaign for considering resurrecting Jeremiah Wright: it seems that what Booker did was express an honest opinion. He also recently called himself an “independent Democrat.” Whereupon the powers that be in the Democratic Party swarmed down to pressure Booker to start praising Obama and walking back his comments.

After viewing the video in which Booker allegedly does so, it’s not clear to me that he walked back anything. In his clarification, while I believe he did make a distinction between resurrecting Wright and attacking Bain (and characterizing the first as worse),  he basically reiterated what he feels.

I’ve often wondered if, in a Presidential race or even simply on the national political stage, an honest, genuinely idealistic and moral man or woman could make it. In our mass media age, when so much acting and pandering is required. When an individual’s positions are made generic by the David Axelrods and Karl Roves, and fealty to a political party and appeals to people’s resentments are mass marketed to focus groups to determine what polls well–instead of individual leaders emerging based on their records of achievement and natural charisma.

I can’t say I’m surprised the boneheaded media and Democratic machine clamped down on Booker for his honesty, any more than I am surprised he ran into a burning building to save his neighbor. While he brings to the table individuality, courage and true leadership, the media and Democratic machine (and I doubt the Republican machine would do any different) attempt to demean and standardize him into an Obama-boosting follower. It may just be he is too good for national politics. Unless he can change them.

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